2023 Kia Sportage GT imagined

Kia might be yet to confirm a high-performance, 200kW-plus Sportage GT for production, but we tasked our artists with rendering one anyway. Here’s what it could look like.


The fifth-generation 2022 Kia Sportage family SUV has finally arrived in Australia, but for performance shoppers looking for more spring in their family car’s step, there’s one glaring omission from the line-up: a high-performance GT variant.

It’s well publicised that Australians love performance cars – with our market often in the top three for Hyundai N and Volkswagen R sales – yet in the ‘affordable’ mid-size SUV space, there are few true go-fast offerings, delivering potent performance with the sharp chassis and sporty visuals to match.

With that in mind, we tasked digital designer @avarvarii with imagining what a new Kia Sportage GT could look like – based on the new, long-wheelbase Sportage now on sale in Australia, but with influences drawn from the short-wheelbase Sportage GT-Line sold in Europe, and other GT-badged Kia performance models.

More aggressive bumpers headline the upgrades, with sporty front intakes inspired by Europe’s GT-Line, honeycomb grille patterns, a prominent rear diffuser with a mix of black and body colour, and a deep front splitter with matte black winglets on each edge.


Those winglets along the vehicle’s flanks, joined by body-coloured wheel arch trims housing mammoth 21-inch alloy wheels – up from 19-inch diameters on the current range-topper, the GT-Line.

Pictured here with a design borrowed from the new EV6 GT-Line electric car, the alloys would hide large performance brakes with multi-piston calipers, and be wrapped in sticky performance tyres.

Stinger GT-like red paint, a black roof and the requisite GT badging completes the performance look.

Inside, we envision a set of front sports seats borrowed from Hyundai’s Sonata N Line sedan – trimmed in a mix of leather and suede – plus red contrast stitching, carbon-fibre and aluminium trim, and plenty of GT badges.

2021 Kia Sportage GT-Line.

With no official or unofficial word of a Sportage GT on the way, there’s little to go on in terms of what lies under the hot Kia’s bonnet – though there’s a number of engines in the Hyundai-Kia family that could make for a good fit.

The most obvious candidate is the Korean conglomerate’s newest 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder used across a range of Hyundai, Kia and Genesis vehicles which, in most front-wheel-drive-based cars, develops 213kW and 422Nm, sent to the road through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

That’s a significant lift over the Australian-market Sportage GT-Line’s choice of 132kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbo-petrol and 137kW/416Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engines.

Most transverse (mounted left to right, in the engine bay) applications of the 2.5-litre ‘Smartstream’ engine are front-wheel drive, though it can be had with all-wheel drive in US-market versions of the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento – a system we’d fit as standard in our hypothetical Sportage GT.

The template for Kia GT models to come: the new EV6 GT.

The zero to 100km/h time would likely fall in the region of 5.0 to 5.5 seconds, with a top speed upwards of 220km/h.

While Kia might already have an engine at the ready, any talk of a 2023 Kia Sportage GT reaching production remains just speculation, with no indication of a model on the horizon.

But if quiet but persistent rumours of a high-performance Hyundai Tucson N come to fruition, a go-fast Sportage could be next in line.

Would a Sportage GT be a logical next step for Kia’s performance badge? Let us know in the comments.

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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